Monday, September 15, 2008

Treaty of Tripoli

Open sea piracy and privateering concerns related to Barbary Coast nations have not been central to this presidential campaign, despite enjoying slightly more relevance than "lipstick on a pig". Still, Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, unanimously ratified by the Senate and signed by President John Adams in 1797, deserves mention:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

There are good things to be said for our religious traditions, but the United States is the great secular experiment. That bears remembering. (back)